Ride Calderdale’s first off-road cycling survey is here

Although we’ve been engaging with other user groups, landowners and countryside managers for several years now, there’s always been a question of how representative Ride Calderdale is, and whether we’re actually reflecting the views of mountain bikers using the area.

Part of this stemmed from the fact that no-one had carried out a comprehensive piece of work to talk to people who cycle off-road and find out where and how they ride, what concerns they have, what they value about the area, and what they’d do to improve it for cycling.

Earlier in 2022 we got the opportunity to do this as part of an off-road cycling working group hosted by Blackshaw Parish Council. The group is made up of representatives of parish and town councils, rights of way volunteers and other user groups, including us. Together we designed a survey and Ride Calderdale helped promote it.

The survey ran for the first quarter of 2022 and got an incredible response, with over 400 mountain bikers joining in to have their say. We’ve finally got round to analysing all these responses and writing it up, and the finished version is now online.

We’d urge you to read the survey report in full, but safe to say it highlights many of the issues we’ve been campaigning on, from the limitations of the local rights of way network, to the lack of dedicated facilities for mountain biking. And it also sets out some great suggestions for how we can improve things.

Click here to read the report in full (PDF version)

Cyclists “exorcise” terrifying trash from trails

A group of community spirited cyclists braved the weather this Hallowe’en weekend and got together to tackle countryside litter. The volunteers, from advocacy group “Ride Calderdale”, social enterprise “Cargodale” and not-for-profit “Trash Free Trails” used electric cargo bikes to collect litter at hotspots around the Calder Valley and transported it to be safely recycled. 

Collectively the group cleaned up around 60 kilometres of tracks, trails and roadside verges and recycled around 80 kilos of waste. Items recovered and recycled included hundreds of plastic and glass bottles, cans and takeaway containers as well as more unusual finds including a computer, a vacuum cleaner, mattresses and even a piano.

The activity took place as part of Trash Free Trails’ Autumn Litter Watch project which has seen individuals, groups and mountain bike race teams across the UK take action in their local area to clean up the countryside. 

Trash Free Trails volunteer Rosie Holdsworth said “We’ve marked Hallowe’en a bit differently this year with a litter pick. If left to break down in the wild a single plastic bottle can haunt our trails and wild places for thousands of years; some of the litter we collected was older than me. This litter isn’t only unsightly; it presents a real risk to wildlife and livestock as well as human health, which is pretty scary! We all love our local wild places and this feels like a good way to give back to the places which give us so much joy.”

Cargodale Project Manager Antony De Heveningham said “At Cargodale a lot of our riders are mountain bikers and fell runners too, so we’re super excited to help a great initiative like Trash Free Trails. Fly tipping has always been a problem in the countryside, but it’s grown hugely during lockdown. Often the rubbish that’s left is too bulky to remove easily, but the e-cargo bikes can carry serious loads, they can get up rough tracks and narrow roads, and they’re much easier to clean than your typical car’s upholstery.”

About Trash Free Trails:

Trash Free Trails is a not-for-profit company working with volunteers and partners across the UK with the aim of reducing trailside litter by 75% by 2025 and reconnecting people with wild places. They’re a group of mountain bikers, runners, kayakers and outdoor enthusiasts dedicated to reducing litter, taking care of their local wilderness and encouraging others to get involved.

Website: https://www.trashfreetrails.org/ 

About Cargodale:

Cargodale is the Calder Valley’s low impact delivery service for small businesses. Our fleet of electric cargo bikes can carry up to 80kg each, and deliver shopping, takeaway food and more to Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Halifax and the surrounding areas.

For more information, head to www.cargodale.co.uk